Winter Safety Tips for Seniors in Tucson
As the weather gets colder, seniors and vulnerable adults are at a higher risk of accidents, illnesses, and injuries. Seniors also face isolation, loneliness, and depression as the winter weather can make it harder for loved ones to travel to see them.
There are many things you can do this winter to protect your senior loved one’s physical and mental health. Take a look at these helpful winter safety tips for seniors in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Make Sure They Get Socialization and Visitors
Isolation and loneliness are very real concerns for seniors in the winter. The days are shorter, it’s colder, and they may get fewer visitors or have fewer opportunities for socialization. You can keep your loved one’s spirits up by making sure they get visitors and chances to spend time with family and friends.
If your loved one lives alone, arrange for regular in-person visits or chats via phone or video call. You can also look up local senior events in your community to find opportunities for your loved one to spend time with people their age who have similar interests.
Get Their Heating System or Furnace Inspected
If your loved one still lives at home, you can protect their comfort and health by making sure their heating system or furnace is inspected before the cold weather sets in. Some parts of Arizona get very cold in the winter, but even Southern Arizona sees temperatures in the 20s and 30s overnight.
Without proper heating, your loved one could be very uncomfortable or even get ill. There are many local HVAC companies who offer seasonal maintenance and winter tune-ups for HVAC systems and furnaces. They can make sure your loved one’s heating system is functioning safely and effectively.
Weatherize Their Windows and Doors
Cold drafts can come in through windows and doors during the winter, even in Arizona. You can reduce your loved one’s heating costs and make sure they are comfortable by weatherizing their windows and doors. Hardware and home improvement stores sell home weatherization kits, or you can buy one online. There are even some agencies that offer the service to elderly or low-income homeowners for free in the community.
Remind Them to Bundle Up
Whether your loved one is spending time indoors or outdoors, remind them to dress for the weather. If they do plan on going outside on days or nights that are 60 degrees or colder, make sure they are wearing multiple layers, including hats and gloves.
Seniors and the elderly often have compromised immune systems and poor circulation, and can be more easily affected by chilly temperatures. Even if you don’t think it’s cold outside, your loved one may be at a higher risk of getting chilled.
Protect Them From Wandering
If your loved one has a tendency to wander away from home, they may be in increased danger if they wander in the winter. If they get lost on a night that is particularly cold, they could succumb to the elements and become ill or pass away.
Take proactive steps to reduce your loved one’s risk of wandering. Consider hiring an in-home care expert or memory caregiver to provide companionship and socialization and keep your loved one from wandering.
Suggest They Stay Inside After Dark
It’s more dangerous for your loved one to be alone outside after dark in the winter. They are at risk of cold weather, hypothermia, getting lost or disoriented, or becoming ill or injured. If they get locked out of their home or lose their way, there could be serious consequences.
Many seniors also have worse vision at night, so driving at night in the winter can be very dangerous. If they do have activities they want to keep up with at night, offer to accompany them. You can also hire a home caregiver to provide assistance at night to keep your loved one safe.
Help Them Avoid Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression can affect people of all ages. If your loved one has a history of depression, mental health issues, dementia, or Alzheimer’s, they may need special care and attention throughout the winter and the holiday season.
Try to visit often, talk on the phone regularly, and check in with them to see how they are feeling. Learn more about the warning signs of depression in case you need to seek professional help for your loved one. You should also consider hiring a senior care specialist who can offer companionship, assistance, and opportunities for socialization.
Prepare Them for Power Outages
While most parts of Southern Arizona don’t get huge winter storms, you should still be prepared. A power outage in the winter means your loved one won’t have heat, hot water, electricity, or access to electronic medical equipment.
Create a kit your loved one can use in an emergency and make sure they have some way to contact you or call 911 for help if an emergency occurs. Even a short time without heating or access to electricity could compromise your loved one’s health and safety.
Cook Them Some Hearty Meals
If your loved one feels isolated, lonely, or sad during the holiday season, offer to cook them some hearty meals to boost their spirits. You can either leave the meals in their freezer so they have an easy option on hand during cold winter nights, or you can bring a hot meal over and share it with them.
An in-home care service can also help with meal planning and preparation if you can’t visit your loved one in person.
Recognize the Warning Signs of Health Problems
You should be aware of the early warning signs of physical and mental health problems so you can intervene if necessary. If your loved one does have a physical or mental health issue, the sooner you can get them professional help, the better.
If possible, talk to their physician about warning signs to look for. You should also be familiar with symptoms of common winter illnesses like the flu, cold, RSV, shingles, pneumonia, and other issues that could be particularly dangerous for the elderly.
Take Them to Get Their Vaccinations
Help your loved one get vaccinated for common seasonal illnesses like the flu, pneumonia, RSV, COVID-19, and shingles. If your loved one becomes ill, their immune system may not be as equipped to fight off the illness as it was when they were younger. Even mild illnesses can become serious very quickly if an elderly person gets them.
Plus, complications like fever, dehydration, and mobility issues can further compromise your loved one’s health and safety. Getting them vaccinated offers an additional level of protection and can lessen the symptoms they experience if they do become ill.
Get Short-Term or Long-Term In-Home Care in Southern Arizona
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s health and wellness over the holiday season, call us today or contact us online. At Placita In Home Care, we offer customizable, flexible in-home care services so your loved one can stay safe, comfortable, and well-cared for in their own home.
We can provide one-time or respite care services, 24/7 care, occasional in-home care services, or regularly scheduled recurring home care services. We specialize in elder care, dementia care, Alzheimer’s care, home safety evaluations, and assisted living placement services.
Our in-home care services include assistance with daily living tasks, help with light housework and meal preparation, shopping and transportation, medication management, and socialization and companionship. You can protect your loved one’s physical and mental health throughout the winter by hiring one of our experienced, compassionate home care aides to assist you and your family.
We have extensive experience and are committed to client safety, comfort, health, and happiness. To schedule a consultation for in-home care in the Tucson or Phoenix metro area, call us today or fill out our contact form online.